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Japanese iTunes Store Enhancements: iTunes Plus, 3G Downloads, Ringtones, Complete My Album

Yesterday, we noted that the music component of iTunes in the Cloud was rolling out to Japanese users, allowing them to freely download any music content previously purchased from the iTunes Store. But as now summarized by 9to5Mac, various reports in the Japanese media reveal that the additions have been much more extensive and have brought Apple's Japanese iTunes Store offerings nearly on par with most of the company's other major markets.


Highlighting some of the changes, Apple has posted a What's New page [Google translation] for iTunes on its Japanese site. The new additions include:

- 3G downloads: Music downloads from iOS devices had previously been restricted to Wi-Fi only, but users can now access content over 3G networks.

- iTunes Plus: The Japanese iTunes Store now supports the DRM-free 256 kbps iTunes Plus format, up from the previous 128 kbps versions carrying usage restrictions. Labels will need to upgrade their content to the new standard, so it may take some time for all music to become available in iTunes Plus format.

- Ringtones: Music ringtones are now available for purchase in the Japanese iTunes Store.

- Mastered for iTunes: Rolling out on a worldwide basis, Apple is now featuring songs and albums that have been specifically mastered for the iTunes Store to provide the best sound quality for the format.

- Complete My Album: Users who previously purchased individual tracks from an album can now purchase the entire album for a discounted price based on a credit for their individual-track purchases.

As for iTunes Match, Apple's subscription service currently available in 37 countries that allows users to either match or upload their entire music libraries regardless of source for access from any iCloud-enabled device, the company is reportedly planning to bring the program to Japan during the second half of 2012.

Top Rated Comments

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34 months ago
What is this "Mastered for iTunes"? This is the first I hear of it.
Rating: 6 Votes
34 months ago

What is this "Mastered for iTunes"? This is the first I hear of it.


http://www.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/
Rating: 5 Votes
34 months ago

AMAZING! I'm glad this was on the front page for fear of missing this vital info.


MacRumors is just pleasing their Japanese users. I think. :D
Rating: 5 Votes
34 months ago
iOS NEEDS to support "iTunes LP" and iTunes' movie "Extras". These more enhanced interfaces for iTunes content can only be seen on macs and PCs within iTunes, itself; not any iOS device including even Apple TV. In fact, while the main movie of an iTunes Extra title you buy is available for synching with iOS devices and Apple TV playback, the included bonus material is not due to the fact that this content is bundled within the Extras of LP package (locked file). I dug into an iTunes extra package I bought (James Bod A Quantum of Solace) and it's all nothing more than HTML5...which iOS supports.

Given how Apple is trying to drive iOS so hard this is way WAY overdue.
Rating: 5 Votes
34 months ago

Is this referring to the 256kbps iTunes Plus music? Or is there extra good-quality music that I have not seen for some songs?

I am assuming what this means is that some artists/songs can be made specifically for the 256kbps iTunes Plus format, which will sound better than songs that were not originally made for that format (and then converted to iTunes Plus).


From the PDF, Apple are asking for higher quality masters (not just CD-quality music) and making iTunes Plus music out of those. It's still lossy but it's being encoded from a better quality original file. So it's another improvement, and the albums that are on iTunes now haven't got any sort of price increase, which is lovely.

Also to note, is that Apple are asking for the highest quality masters possible so that they can store these originals and eventually release increasingly better quality in the future, according to the PDF.

(And I urge anyone who instantly wants to jump in with a comment like marcusj0015's to go read the PDF first. Apple won't always be selling the originals they keep as lossy files).
Rating: 4 Votes
34 months ago
about time they get 3g download and drm free songs !
Rating: 4 Votes
34 months ago


AKA Musicians who're writing their music with MP3 compression in mind.

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That is the fault of the record labels/engineers/musicians, not the format itself.

http://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf

Check their PDF, they specifically talk about this.

Whether you’re mastering a whisper-quiet zen flute tone poem or a heavy metal guitar
fest, volume is a key issue. The main tools used in mastering—equalization,
compression, limiting, or combinations of these—are all different ways of controlling
aspects of volume. Making decisions about gain levels, dynamic range, and frequency
response is what mastering is all about.
Many artists and producers feel that louder is better. The trend for louder music has
resulted in both ardent fans of high volumes and backlash from audiophiles, a
controversy known as “the loudness wars.” This is solely an issue with music. Movies, for
example, have very detailed standards for the final mastering volume of a film’s
soundtrack. The music world doesn’t have any such standard, and in recent years the de
facto process has been to make masters as loud as possible. While some feel that overly
loud mastering ruins music by not giving it room to breathe, others feel that the
aesthetic of loudness can be an appropriate artistic choice for particular songs or
albums.
Analog masters traditionally have volume levels set as high as possible, just shy of
oversaturation, to improve the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). With digital masters, the goal
is to achieve the highest gain possible without losing information about the original file
due to clipping.
With digital files, there’s a limit to how loud you can make a track: 0dBFS. Trying to
increase a track’s overall loudness beyond this point results in distortion caused by
clipping and a loss in dynamic range. The quietest parts of a song increase in volume,
yet the louder parts don’t gain loudness due to the upper limits of the digital format.
A less obvious issue when setting gain for digital masters can occur on playback.
Whether it's a compressed file like an AAC file or an uncompressed file such as a CD,
digital data goes through several processes to be converted to an analog signal for
playback.
One common process is called oversampling. This upsamples the digital data at four
times the original sample rate to improve the quality of the digital audio signal being
converted to analog. If the original digital audio data is at 0dBFS, oversampling can
result in undesirable clipping. And if the original was already clipped, oversampling can
make it worse. A growing consensus is emerging that digital masters should have a
small amount of headroom (roughly 1dB) in order to avoid such clipping.

In both digital and analog, the highest possible level will vary from track to track,
depending on the material being mastered. Your decision about the volume and
loudness of your tracks is a technical and creative choice. You might decide to take the
listener on a dynamic journey through an album as a complete work, raising and
lowering the volume level across the sequence of tracks to increase the music’s
emotional impact. Alternately, you might pursue the loudest possible signal at all times.
Whatever you decide—exquisitely overdriven and loud, or exquisitely nuanced and
tasteful—we will be sure to encode it and reproduce it accurately. We only ask that you
avoid clipping the signal.

Rating: 4 Votes
34 months ago

AMAZING! I'm glad this was on the front page for fear of missing this vital info.

Believe it or not: there are people living in Japan ... And they use Apple ... And read MR ... yoroshiku onegaishimasu
Rating: 4 Votes
34 months ago

"- Mastered for iTunes: Rolling out on a worldwide basis, Apple is now featuring songs and albums that have been specifically mastered for the iTunes Store to provide the best sound quality for the format."

AKA Musicians who're writing their music with MP3 compression in mind.

Thumb resize.


It's actually the opposite, most CDs these days sound like crap (no matter which music it has on it) because of dynamic range compression (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war) (as in loudness, not as in data bitrate like with MP3 and similar).

Also, Apple uses AAC, not MP3. ;)
Rating: 4 Votes
34 months ago
Good news for Japans iTunes users, now I like iTunes in the cloud to come to Finland.
Rating: 4 Votes

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